She walked into the rural Florida emergency food center on the arm of a disheveled, swaggering man. She was noticeably younger, she didn’t speak, and her gaze only fleetingly raised to meet Tim’s that day. The man she came with did all the talking, and when they left that day, Tim describes that he was haunted by the encounter. Fresh out of college, he was working for a farmworker association that brought resources from urban areas to rural areas with a large refugee and undocumented worker population. Tim says this was the first woman he’d met who appeared to be captive or abused in some way. This early experience has stayed with him over the years.
Skipping over a few decades, now in 2016, Tim jumped on the foundation’s Housing Bus Tour with other funders and community leaders that visited East Durham. Unfamiliar with Durham’s housing and poverty issues, he was eager to learn about the services available, and what impact organizations are having in the area. He’d recently become interested in how society treats its most vulnerable members, which led him to an interest in combatting human trafficking and violence against poor women and children. Tim quickly felt a connection to Housing for New Hope and arranged a grant with foundation staff before the tour day concluded. He shared that their comprehensive approach made it well suited to help someone struggling with a “simple” case of temporary homelessness to a more complicated case of an abused woman seeking a new start.
Like most graduates with an MBA, he peppers conversations with concepts such as an efficient economy, but he is also grounded by generosity rooted in a profound sense of how fortunate he is. He is honored to be able to help people and be in their midst. He believes that not every encounter with others needs to mediated by an exchange of money. “Furthermore, it’s a better life to make giving commitments first, then see what’s left over. In some ways, I’m probably not so different from a parent who makes similar choices every day.”
Tim Walter is a Durham native, and has been a fundholder for over 10 years at the Foundation. He is currently working to bring a diverse art center to downtown Durham, preserving and standing up for the role of culture in our community.
What We Do
We believe in the importance of funding Community Development in our community. Comprehensive approaches that include components of housing, employment, and mental and physical health not only provide basic human needs, but also build individual empowerment and strengthen the community.